AskDefine | Define aloha

Dictionary Definition

aloha n : an acknowledgment that can be used to say hello or goodbye (aloha is Hawaiian and ciao is Italian) [syn: ciao]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Hawaiian, meaning love








Originally alofa, compare Maori aroha

Extensive Definition

Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. Since the middle of the 19th century, it also has come to be used as a greeting to say goodbye and hello.
It is also the state nickname of Hawaii, the "Aloha State".


The word aloha derives from the Proto-Polynesian root *alofa. It has descendents in other Polynesian languages, such as the Māori word aroha, also meaning "love."
A folk etymology claims that it derives from a compound of the Hawaiian words alo meaning "presence", "front", "face", or "share"; and ha, meaning "breath of life" or "essence of life." Although alo does indeed mean "presence" etc., the word for breath is spelled with a macron or kāhako over the a (hā) whereas the word aloha does not have the stressed a.


Before contact with the West, the words used for greeting were welina and anoai. Today, "aloha kakahiaka" is the phrase for "good morning." "Aloha auinalā" means "good afternoon" and "aloha ahiahi" means "good evening." "Aloha kākou" is a common form of "welcome to all."
In modern Hawaii, numerous businesses have aloha in their names, with more than 3 pages of listings in the Oahu phone book alone.


Recent trends are popularizing the term elsewhere in the United States. Popular entertainer, Broadway star and Hollywood actress Bette Midler, born in Honolulu, uses the greeting frequently in national appearances. The word was also used frequently in the hit television drama Hawaii Five-O. The Aloha Spirit is a major concept in Lilo and Stitch, a very popular Disney series of movies and TV shows, set in Hawaii. Lost, shot in Hawaii, has a thank you note at the end of the credits saying "We thank the people of Hawaii and their Aloha Spirit". Aloha is a term also used in the Nickelodeon program Rocket Power
Arguably the most famous historical Hawaiian song, "Aloha Oe" was written by the last queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani.
The term inspired the name of the ALOHA Protocol introduced in the 1970s by the university of Hawaii.

See also

  • Shalom has a similar meaning.
  • Salaam has a similar meaning.
  • Peace has a similar meaning.


  • Hawaiian Telcom White Pages

External links

aloha in Czech: Aloha
aloha in German: Aloha
aloha in Spanish: Espíritu Aloha
aloha in French: Aloha
aloha in Hebrew: אלוהה
aloha in Japanese: アロハ (挨拶)
aloha in Low German: Aloha (Hawaii)
aloha in Norwegian: Aloha
aloha in Russian: Алоха
aloha in Vietnamese: Aloha
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